September 18th, 2012

Texas schools borrow to build football shrines

By Kathy Warbelow
The Journal Gazette

Carthage High School’s Bulldogs lost their Aug. 31 home opener to the Jacksonville Indians 34-30, yet the Dawgs’ $750,000 scoreboard eased the sting.

With a display big enough to give 1.6 square feet of video screen to each of Carthage High’s 750 students, it’s the largest Jumbotron at a Texas secondary school, delivering instant replays and crowd shots during games.

In the land that inspired television’s “Friday Night Lights” series, high school football takes on an outsize role. Players in some rural counties use fields with artificial turf and high-technology scoreboards. More than 100 stadiums have been built in Texas, financed by voter-approved bonds, in a five-year facilities arms race that preceded more than $5 billion in state cuts to education by Republicans in Austin.

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